Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wheat Germ: A Quick Nutritonal Boost

People are always looking for a new way to lose weight. It seems like the new fad is Sensa, a weight loss product that claims sprinkling small crystals on all of the food you eat will cause you to lose weight. Though I am skeptical and do not believe this is the proper way to live a healthy lifestyle, it got me thinking about other quick ways to improve your health. There IS a substance that when you sprinkle it on foods gives it an extra nutritional boost. It is not called Sensa, it is Wheat Germ.

Wheat germ is one of those foods you can add to anything to give it an extra nutritional boost. Unfortunately, it is something missing from the majority of people's diets, particularly those who eat a large percentage of highly processed foods.

There are 3 parts of a wheat kernel: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. The bran is the outer layer full of fiber. In the center, is the endosperm, which provides carbohydrates , and in the inner, is the germ, which is the main source of nutrients. Since the germ has healthy oils that can go rancid after sitting too long, it is removed in the process of making white flour. This allows flour to be able to sit on the shelf for a much longer period of time. Unfortunately, this also means that all that good nutrition is completely stripped away, leaving a substance with little nutritional value.

So what nutrients are in wheat germ? One of the most important nutrients it contains is Vitamin E. This is a fat soluble vitamin, that has antioxidant protection and protects your body from the harm of free radicals. Free radicals harm the body by damaging cells and causes numerous chronic diseases. Many people are deficient in Vitamin E because of the processing of so many foods, and eating wheat germ is a great, natural way , to incorporate it into your diet without other supplements.

Besides vitamin E, wheat germ is great source of B-vitamins, fiber, healthy fatty acids, and minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, selenium, and manganese.

The good news is wheat germ is an easy thing to add into your daily meals. Here is list of a few ideas:
1. Sprinkle it over your cereal or oatmeal in the morning
2. Use it as a substitute for breadcrumbs in a recipe
3. Add it into yogurt as an alternative to granola
4. Combine with flour when making baked goods
5. Sprinkle it into batters used for waffles/pancakes
6. Toss it in with a bowl of pasta/chili/stew

Adding some wheat germ to your diet is a great way help you get necessary nutrients that you would not get otherwise. There are no quick fixes to a unhealthy lifestyle, but wheat germ may be the next best thing.

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